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What form of contraception to choose after pregnancy ?

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Although doctors suggest not having sexual intercourses at least till the postpartum checkup, which is after 4 to 5 weeks of giving birth, it has been estimated that most women will already have resumed intercourses before that. After giving birth, women should allow their body to heal, but even then, it is always safer to have birth control plans well in advance. For women who have had children, there are a number of things like the vaginal width and the hormone levels that should be considered before opting for any particular birth control method. Given below are some of the methods that may be applicable to women with children

Barrier method

The barrier method includes using condoms and cervical caps. These methods may be safer health wise as they do not alert the hormone levels in the body. However, they also do not 100% protection against childbirth. This may be due to the changed shape of the cervix after giving birth. The vaginal dilation lasts for a few weeks before after giving birth. You will be required to wait till the postpartum checkup, by which time, sufficient retraction has taken place, almost to the normal size. If you are using a cervical cap, you should have it fitted by the doctor and frequently refitted so that they remain intact. Even women who have had cesareans are advised to get professional help as they too go through the labor and therefore experience vaginal dilation.

After giving birth, the estrogen and progesterone levels in the body are thrown off balance for a few weeks which can result in vaginal dryness. Therefore, it is best to use lubrication these contraceptives so as to prevent irritation and inflammation.

Hormonal method

Pills

Since birth control pills contain progestin and estrogen, these should be strictly avoided for at least four weeks after giving birth so as to prevent blood clotting. They may, however, be safe to use after the postpartum check up. Women who breastfeed their child are also advised to stay away from the pills as the estrogen can reduce milk secretion and also the amount of nutrients present in the milk. It can also affect the liver and kidney of the baby as they are not well developed to process a heavy amount of these hormones.

Shots and norplant implant

A norplant is an implantation made on the arms that will continually release the hormones estrogen and progestin into the body at frequent time intervals. They can stay effective for as long as 5 years. Shots, on the other hand, need to be taken at frequent intervals, generally with a gap of three to four months. You can also take a progestin-only shot if you are breastfeeding your child. These are, however, deemed to be less effective than estrogen shots.

IUD

IUD or intrauterine devices come in the form of copper rings and are directly inserted into the cervix. These, too, work by releasing the required hormones, but do not alter the hormone levels in the entire body.

Tubal ligation

This method is for those women who have decided not to have children anymore in the future. It involves having a surgery here the Fallopian tubes are cut and tied. This method, therefore, produces 100% effectiveness and is also the safest method for women with child.

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